Start the Engine and Hand Over the Keys

Here is the situation for your consideration…

You have a lot of stuff like this:

You will soon have a lot of these (middle school kids):

So, what do you do or say to get their imaginations turning?

  • What is a specific question they could answer?
  • What problems might they solve?
  • Should the students exclusively come up with their own questions and problems? 

Besides helping me plan a new after school group activity for our district, I’m hopeful this makes a point. We don’t often give our kids tools (or even toys, at least beyond kindergarten) and just get out of the way and see what they can accomplish. No specific steps, no anticipatory set, no PowerPoint, nada–just let them create, interact, make mistakes, and accomplish cool and amazing things. Ever make something amazingly useful out of tape and a cardboard box and empty paper towel roll? I know, personally, I get so accustomed to directing the action, I have to be virtually muzzled and tied to a chair to keep me out of the way (much the way so many of my former teachers wished to deal with me). So, please let me hear your thoughts, suggestions, questions, etc.

1 Comment

  1. Randy- great questions… but you don’t need answers to these from us… you need the answers from the kids themselves. On day one- give participating kids voice and decide the answers to these questions together… it may be hard at first, you already mentioned that it is hard for you and you’re not used to it… chances are they won’t be used to it either. Persevere! What they and you together create will be powerful. And breaking the teacher-driven model- PARTICULARLY in an experience designed to be play- will bring about great things. Peace.

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